Queensland spends $14m on phone-tapping

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Queensland spends $14m on phone-tapping

Electronic Collections Unit to be fully operational by new financial year.

The Queensland Government has announced plans to establish a $14m phone-tapping system over the next five years.

Managed by the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC), the system would be used to monitor corruption, drug trafficking, extortion and fraud, and child sex offences.

A CMC spokesperson told iTnews that it would be used "in investigations into major and organised crime and paedophilia", but declined to divulge CMC's methodologies and commercial dealings with technology vendors.

According to Queensland's Attorney-General Cameron Dick, CMC had been operating an "interim" phone-tapping system since the Telecommunications Interception Act 2009 was passed by the Queensland Parliament last May.

The Act required law enforcement officers to apply for warrants to use phone-tapping technology, and record details of each interception.

Dick said the funding would allow the CMC, which had been sharing resources with the police, to conduct its own investigations, reducing the risk of investigations being compromised.

The newly announced funding would support CMC's implementation of "long-term telecommunications intercept capabilities" in conjunction with the Australian Crime Commission.

CMC was expected to have fully operational phone-tapping capabilities by 1 July. Of the $14m total available funding, $605,000 would be spent on implementation this financial year.

It planned to complete the recruiting process for its Electronic Collections Unit so that it would be operating at full capacity by the start of the new financial year.

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